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Variability in the summer movements, habitat use and thermal biology of two fish species in a temperate river.

Amat Trigo, F., Tarkan, A. S., Aksu, S., Bolland, J., Andreou, D., Gillingham, P., Yeldham, M. and Britton, J., 2024. Variability in the summer movements, habitat use and thermal biology of two fish species in a temperate river. Aquatic Sciences: research across boundaries. (In Press)

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The ability of fish to cope with warm water temperatures in summer depends on factors including their thermal traits and the ability of individuals to access cool-water refugia. Knowledge is highly limited on the in situ responses of many fishes to elevated summer temperatures, including whether they express behavioural thermoregulation. The responses of two riverine species to summer water temperatures were tested here using the movement metrics, spatial habitat use and body temperatures of individual European barbel Barbus barbus (‘barbel’) and common bream Abramis brama (‘bream’) versus river temperatures. Acoustic biotelemetry was applied in the lower River Severn basin, Western Britain, in summer 2021 (barbel) and 2022 (bream), where individuals could move across >150 km of river, including a tributary of cooler water. Across all individuals, bream occupied 37km of river length (mainstem only), with low inter-individual variability in their spatial habitat use, movements and body temperatures. In contrast, barbel occupied 62km of river (main river/ tributary), with relatively high inter-individual variability in spatial habitat use, movements and body temperatures, with higher variation in body temperatures as river temperatures increased (maximum mean daily temperature difference between individuals on the same day: 4.2oC). Although warmer individuals generally moved more, their activity was greatest at relatively low temperatures and higher flows, and neither species revealed any evidence of behavioural thermoregulation during elevated temperatures. Enabling phenotypically diverse fish populations to express their natural behaviours and thermal preferences in summer water temperatures thus requires maintaining their free-ranging in thermally heterogenous habitats.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39634
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:25 Mar 2024 08:24
Last Modified:25 Mar 2024 08:24


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